ELLSWORTH — A Hancock County judge Wednesday denied a change in a bail condition for a Tremont man accused of sexually assaulting a young student while he was a teacher and coach at the Tremont Consolidated School.
Benjamin Hodgdon II, 47, was asking the court to allow several modifications to his bail conditions, including one change that would allow his wife’s seven-year-old daughter to live with the couple. Hodgdon’s bail conditions include no unsupervised contact with his stepdaughter and other children under the age of 16.
Hodgdon’s attorney, David Van Dyke, told the court the changes requested stem from the birth in July of the couple’s son and would give “greater flexibility” in caring for the needs of the newborn.
The stepdaughter currently lives with Hodgdon’s parents, whose home is 90 feet from the defendant’s home. The girl is back and forth between the two houses, which raises concerns about unintentional unsupervised contact with Hodgdon, Van Dyke said.
“We’re just trying to avoid an inadvertent bail violation,” he said. “We’re not asking for unsupervised contact with [the girl].”
Deputy District Attorney Toff Toffolon objected to the change, arguing that it would be difficult to ensure that all contact between Hodgdon and the girl is properly supervised. The complainant in the sexual assault case also objects and has concerns about the girl’s safety if the court were to allow the change, Toffolon said.
Supervision also was a concern of Justice Bruce Mallonee.
If the girl were allowed to reside with Hodgdon and her mother, there is no “guarantee that there would not be unsupervised contact that the bail conditions are designed to avoid,” Mallonee said in denying the change.
Mallonee did approve changes in Hodgdon’s bail conditions that allow him unsupervised contact with his son and added four people to the list of those can supervise his time with his stepdaughter. The state did not object to these changes.
Hodgdon was arrested in January 2014 on a charge of gross sexual assault. His arrest came six months after a woman met with a detective and alleged she had been sexually assaulted by Hodgdon on numerous occasions while a student at the Tremont school during the 1999-2000 school year. At the time, Hodgdon was a sixth grade teacher and cross country coach at the school.
A grand jury in April 2014 indicted Hodgdon on four counts of gross sexual assault, two counts of unlawful sexual contact and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
The case is expected to go to trial next month.